Good question since we are serving them at the Franklin Inn this weekend. Widely used in Mexican cooking, especially the Yucatan area, plantains are related to or a type of starchy banana used for cooking. They seem to be referred to a lot as the cooking banana or banana potato. The fruit is a deeper yellow than the bananas we buy as fruit around here, and they are larger with a thick skin. Plantains are highly nutritious being a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They are also high in carbohydrates and a great energy booster. Plantains are not eaten raw and are usually prepared as a vegetable dish or sweet desert. They can be used in various stages of ripeness for different types of recipes. They are sweetest when ripe which is when the skins are black. Like bananas, plantains will ripen after they have been harvested.
Let me know if you use them in a recipe.
Here are some links about them.
Gourmetsleuth - more about them
www.turbana.com - recipes
Yucatan Breakfast recipe
Plantain and Lentil Stew (you have to scroll towards bottom of page to view recipe)